Extraordinary history to inspire you for a new beginning
A place where seashore legends meet your dreams

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The history of Kurhaus began more than 100 years ago. In 1900, merchants from Klaipėda constructed the biggest building in Smiltynė: Smiltynė Kurhaus and a guest house. Kurhaus was built near the Smiltynė dune, close to the Baltic lagoon, facing a picturesque urban panorama of Klaipėda, next to the old port of Smiltynė ferry terminal.

Smiltynė Kurhaus is located in Smiltynė, Klaipėda’s ‘stepdaughter’, that can be reached from Klaipėda by crossing about half a kilometre long Strait of the Curonian Lagoon. It is surrounded by the wild nature, between the forest of the Curonian Spit and the Baltic Sea, Swiss villas and houses of Jugend style. Smiltynė Kurhaus is the main symbol of a summer place and its façade can be also seen from the other shore.

The idea of Smiltynė Kurhaus was born after merchants built a new Smiltynė park and the infrastructure was developed with beach houses, hiking paths and restaurants.


Smiltynė Kurhaus (1900–1944): a luxury hotel

Smiltynė Kurhaus was the most state-of-the-art hotel of 50 rooms at the seashore. It had plumbing, hot baths and electricity. From 1909 Kurhaus had a fixed telephone line: a beacon of innovation of that time.

Kurhaus was one of the most state-of-the-art buildings of its time: a luxury hotel with suites, located in the green coastal oasis with fascinating villas, hiking paths and excellent beaches.

Holidaymakers were attracted to Kurhaus, a wonderful seashore place, by its walking paths in a young forest of the Curonian Spit which had a network of walking paths with stops and sightseeing sites and such places to visit like King Wilhelm oak-tree and Hubert square. They also loved empty coastal beaches, sunbathing, swimming in the sea, collecting amber and spending time at a music venue surrounded by beautiful foliage and a coniferous forest.


Exquisite luxury was present not only at the Kurhaus restaurant where deluxe wines were served but also in the building itself whose image was reflected in the lagoon. Holiday-makers coming by sea were fascinated with magnificent polished bent parts of Swiss-style fachwerk on the third (attic) floor, making Kurhaus look light and elegant, and matching the dune vegetation. Smiltynė Kurhaus made a big impression on the people of that time. Illuminated at night and well-visible in the dark this deluxe hotel with extremely luxurious suites, surrounded by the pine-tree forest and facing the lagoon, welcomed the travellers coming by water. Kurhaus created romantic atmosphere with the staircase decorated with electric lights leading to the terrace.

Noble cosiness and memorable comfort. Visitors would say about Smiltynė Kurhaus that “it was created by nature and human hands helping each other, for the benefit of the old maritime city and its guests.” Klaipėda residents loved inviting their guests here for meals, a cup of coffee or some sweet treats. Old photographs show flags, plants and strings of coloured lights decorating multiple outdoor cafes and restaurants.
The place would attract visitors who loved wild private beaches at the Baltic See, light and chamber music concerts or those who were fans of outdoor tennis. From 1913 Kurhaus had tennis courts for tennis lovers. In winter, people could rent skis or skates at Kurhaus. In 1935, a new yachtclub was built which was open for Kurhaus residents.

Kurhaus, known for its ability to preserve exquisite taste, had a garden restaurant and a garden café serving a variety of meals and wines, deluxe local and foreign beer. Kurhaus restaurant offered extremely delicious meals. Its outdoor summer café had a beautiful view of the building, smartly decorated with wood works and outdoor paintings. Tables with umbrellas were placed on the terrace in front of the eastern facade of the building, between a wooden extension and the northern part of the terrace and in the lower part of it. The Kurhaus terrace opened a breath-taking view at the port. It was full of boats, steamboats and sailing ships busy against the backdrop of the beautiful urban landscape.

In 1909, Smiltynė Kurhaus could guarantee supplies of deluxe drinks, products, press, bed linen and services of professional chefs.

After World War I, during the French reign, a gambling house and a casino were operating from 1920 until 1923, along with a nice concert site with a beautiful esplanade facing the sea. Many elegant people gathered here to listen to the open-air music played by the orchestra, which was unusual yet mesmerising. Kurhaus had a special room with a roulette and game machine. There were so many visitors that its owners thought of organising transportation to Kurhaus also at night.

Kurhaus reached its peak after Klaipėda became part of Lithuania. It became a flagship place of summer cultural events, was well-known for its cuisine, garden restaurant and an outdoor café.

Kurhaus was at the heart of the first water programme of the Sea Festival. “Regatta at Smiltynė! Gentlemen in white trousers, blue jackets and sailor hats! Classy I would say!“

Before World War II Kurhaus was a famous cultural centre in Smiltynė hosting musical events and recitals of famous artists.

Kurhaus was associated not only with the seashore hotel but also health treatment services. Visitors enjoyed warm spa baths. A guest house was located near Kurhaus.

Kurhaus was famous for being just several minutes away from Klaipėda. People could reach it in ten minutes, walking along a beautiful esplanade, clean and well-preserved paths or a dense forest of the Curonian Spit. Remembering Kurhaus, holiday-makers spoke of reaching it as a blessing: “the path takes you to a thickening forest, with the aroma of pine-trees growing stronger with every move. Congratulations, the biggest and very sandy dune with a view leading to the top for us to watch the Baltic Sea. The sand-dune landscape with patches of grass on it, the glistening sea and us in awe. People are swimming and collecting amber.“

In 1912, a new pier was built at Kurhaus. Imagine a yacht at berth decorating the magnificent building of Kurhaus.

During the inter-war period Kurhaus was a seashore hotel representing Lithuania.

Kurhaus after World War II

From 1945 until 1950, travel my lagoon was restricted by a new border regime. World War II washed the luxury of Smiltynė away. However, Kurhaus avoided missiles and remained almost intact, apart from a few broken glasses, broken balcony, staircase and its light bulbs. Later the building was tidied up to host families, mostly sailors or port staff.

From 1971 a decision was taken to repair Kurhaus. In 1980, the reconstruction of Kurhaus was finished by turning it into a facility suitable to be used as a hotel and restaurant in Smiltynė.

In 1993, the Scientific Centre of Lithuanian National Heritage notified the Klaipėda City Council that they intend to include Kurhaus into the list of newly identified historical and architectural monuments.

Kurhaus is on the Heritage List and has huge historical value.


Kurhaus postcards

Unique postcards of Smiltynė Kurhaus